F1 2019 was both a critical and commercial success for Codemasters. The British developer had an excellent 2019 which was capped off by their yearly Formula 1 game, which rightfully won our Racing Game of the year.
No video game is perfect, though, and the usual issue of keeping the Official F1 Game relevant and prevalent through the real sport's off-season has once again cropped up.
Is it possible to keep interest in the game as high in the summer and autumn through the winter?
There were 21 races on this year's F1 calendar, the joint-longest ever in the sport's history.
All of these are available to race in F1 2019, as well as shortened versions of tracks like Silverstone and Suzuka.
However, Formula 1 fans aren't ones who rest on their laurels, they, like the teams and drivers, always strive for more.
KEEP IT CLASSIC: These throwback circuits were a part of the franchise many years ago...
We haven't seen "Classic circuits" in the Formula 1 game since 2013 but just like the Classic cars, these can and should return.
Imola, Brands Hatch, Estoril and Jerez were all included in F1 2013 and there's no reason why something similar can't return for 2020.
We proposed this addition back in August and it'd still ring true for a large section of the F1 fandom.
I don't think there would be many fans that would be against the likes of Adelaide, Kyalami and Fuji being included in F1 2020, even if as DLC.
We love the esports challenges Codemasters run throughout the season, as they throw you straight into the action of a race in its dying stages.
That's also part of the reason why we loved the new Formula 2-based introduction to the game.
What's also great is that you have to aim for the fastest race time while overtaking AI cars, which keeps you on edge throughout your five-lap sprint.
IN THE PITS: F1 2019's Senna v Prost was a missed opportunity
As good as these qualifiers are, though, they don't have much comparison to the real sport in terms of its associated GP.
However, something that would have an accurate comparison is a "Historic Challenges" game mode. This would consist of stepping into the cockpit of some of the best drivers in history during their most famous and triumphant moments.
How awesome would it be to race as James Hunt, needing to overtake a few drivers in treacherous conditions in the dying stages of the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix? Or as Ayrton Senna having to recover from a stall at the start of the 1988 Japanese GP to win your first title?
There are countless examples of what situations could be implemented, with over 1000 races to choose from, Codemasters aren't short of options.
Full of Promise
A lot of strides have been made in the direction of prolonging the game's lifespan, F1 2019 is probably the best Formula 1 game that Codemasters have ever produced.
Just like the F1 media channels, to go forward, Codemasters need to look to the past of their games and the sport to fill the void over the winter.
With previous titles, we'd have stopped playing long before the new year but 2019 has performed a lot better than its predecessors.
This list was a lot longer in the past but thanks to the implementation of Formula 2, a better multiplayer and a more engaging career mode, there are plenty of reasons to play this game right up until 2020 hits the shelves in the summer.
Motorsport games can often be an intimidating test for new players. True racing games bite and punish mistakes, and the only experience most have is with Mario Kart.
While the majority of people know how to drive, driving quickly in a race is another matter, and going from a road car to a single-seater thoroughbred like a Formula 1 care can be an impossible challenge for many. While track day experiences are a popular gift, the high-octane performance is not for everyone.
The controls alone can be enough to deter you, and the difficult nature of taming an F1 car can lead to gamers quickly giving up. However, as the pinnacle of motorsport around the world and thanks to the efforts of Codemasters, Formula 1 games are some of the most satisfying sports games on the planet and are incredibly rewarding to play. So how can you go from F1 newbie to calm and in control?
Use the assists
All motorsport games have some level of assists to help the cars be easier to control and drive. F1 games usually have the best and most comprehensive set of assists around.
The preset of beginner assists gives you a lot of help, from braking to traction control, racing line, and gearbox. The only thing it won’t do for you is turn.
The braking assist will prevent you going too deep into corners or flying into barriers around the street circuits, while the traction control will help you under acceleration and prevent the car from seriously snapping on you as you exit the corner as you slam the power down.
The crown jewel of F1 assists has long been the 3D racing line, which leaps upward in the braking zones to help you see it when following a car. Even highly experienced players continue to use this assist as it can be very tricky to spot and learn.
The automatic gearbox assist is another vital one, especially when using a control pad. The pit assists mean you don’t have to worry about the pit lane speed limit or exiting the pit box, while automatic ERS mode takes care of the energy deployment until you are ready to take on that function yourself.
Once you have a feel for the way the car drives you can start to remove assists. They great thing about F1 2019 is that the brake and traction control have gradients to them, allowing you to go from high to medium, low, and off with the brakes and full, medium, and off with the traction control.
Naturally the more assists you have the slower you will be, but the breadth of options you have with them means there isn’t an enormous leap you have to make each time you peel one assist off. Start by lowing the brake assist and then only use the racing line at corners.